My niece Angela is the love of my life, a vivacious toddler and my world revolves around her. I tell everyone I know how meeting her changed my life. I witnessed her entering the world and felt in an instant, between her first breath and cry, my heart grow. It grew exponentially, in such a rapid leap to accommodate for the love I birthed just for her. I am not a mother but I can’t imagine loving anyone more than I love her.
Angela has given me many gifts in the time I’ve known her. One of the first was her laugh. In Navajo culture we celebrate the first laugh of a baby as something special and important. This transition in life is significant as it is the first time a baby is able to wear turquoise. Angela laughed for me on my birthday, almost two years ago. This is such an honor and that she choose me, means the world to me. It is an important role as the person with whom the laugh is shared is suppose to host a dinner for the child and family as the first gesture of generosity. As the host, you are meant to give unselfishly to show the child, this is how we, are suppose to act here in this world. Angela’s first laugh ceremony will forever be a marker of my grownupness. As I understood for the first time my role in her life.
As she’s grown I am more cognizant of the examples I set. I think of the people who have shaped me and how I am stronger because of the things they have taught me and I realize, I want to be that person for her. So I live my life knowing the best thing I can do for her is to live fearlessly authentic. As a result, Angela will no doubt witness her auntie’s silliness, mistakes and hopefully, bravery. Today she turns two years old and I am grateful for the abundance her presence in my life has brought me. If I can be half the person she is now, I will be all the better for it.